thursday randomosity.

  • Clark and Gladys, our Avian-American tenants, have moved back into the overhang above the front door, and are currently busy with the annual renovation of their apartment.  That’s a surefire sign that spring is here to stay.  (I think they have a condo in Florida.)
  • The roofer got his check, so we’re expecting a crew of roof-putter-onners any day now here at Castle Frostbite.  I can’t wait to have a roof that’s more watertight than a pasta strainer.  It’ll make the next winter so much more pleasant.
  • I sent my nearly complete draft of Big Military SF Opus to a trusted beta reader with extensive knowledge of the genre, and got a highly favorable critique in return.  Now, good reviews are generally to be taken with caution, because you don’t learn from praise nearly as much as you do from criticism, but I can’t help but feel positive about the chances of BMSFO doing well with the genre readers.  Said reviewer says it’s at least as good as David Weber’s On Basilisk Station, which is a comparison I don’t mind at all, seeing how that one launched a successful and lucrative eleven-book series for Weber.  So far, a dozen people have read the partial or full draft, and a large portion of that dozen consists of writers or publishing professionals that are well-established in the industry.  The critiques have been uniformly very positive, which is another good sign, because most of the folks who have read the draft don’t have the inclination or motivation to say nice stuff about it just to make me feel good.  It’s nice to see that I didn’t just waste the last nine months drumming out the literary equivalent of a full litter box, but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating, and I’ll save the unbridled jubilation for the day when I sign a publishing contract for BMSFO.
  • Taxes have been filed, and we’re getting a nice refund, but there will be no new toys for me for BAG Day.  (See item “new roof” above.) 
  • I love the headline about the American sailors who “thwarted the pirates”.  I love the word “thwart”…it’s so much fun to say.  Thwart, thwart, thwart.  Every time I read a headline with “thwart” in it, I say it out loud, in my That Announcer Guy Voice“In a world…”
  • Caffeinated beverage, comfy chair, pants.  Two of these items are essential, and one of them is optional when your office is in the same house as your bedroom.  Can you guess which one it is?
  • (Actually, I don’t sit down to do work unless I’m fully dressed.  That whole “spend all day in your PJs” doesn’t work for me, because I have trouble getting into the working mindset when I’m clad in sleeping clothes.)
  • I just read an article about shopping mall operator General Growth filing for bankruptcy protection, and I just realized that I have not been to a shopping mall in over a year.  I couldn’t even tell you where the closest one is located–I’m sure there’s one in Concord, sixty miles south, but haven’t had a reason to seek it out.  The last mall I set foot into was Rockingham Mall in southern NH, where I was grabbing a bite to eat with my brother before putting him on a plane back to Germany in January of 2008.  I feel like a failure as a consumer.  How can I prove my patriotism, and my worth as an American Citizen-Consumer Unit, if I don’t make an effort to spend money I don’t have on stuff I don’t need?
  • I loves me some nice writing paper, but every time I pass the Moleskine rack at Borders, I have to chuckle.  Nineteen dollars for a 192-page notebook with shitty Chinese blotter paper inside?  At the rate I’m going through paper, I’d spend enough money on notebooks every year to pay for a nice laptop.  Notebook of Hemingway, my ass.  You know what Hemingway used to write?  He used sheet paper, or the napkins from his thirty-twelve daily drinks, and then hammered the longhand scribblings into his typewriter.  You know what I use for my first drafts?  Ninety-nine cent composition notebooks, the kind with the marbled cover.  Two hundred pages with sturdy sewn binding, stiff covers, and you can get almost a case of them for the price of a single Moleskine.  It won’t have a gauche little rubber band to hold it shut and prevent your trendy notebook from spilling open on the Starbucks table to reveal your angsty poetry to the other turtleneck-wearing hipsters, but it’s a better pick if you actually use the thing to write stuff.
  • I think I’ve finally found a religion that’s compatible with my ethics: The First Church of the Intergalactic Fruitbat Steve, cosmology courtesy of Cherie Priest.  Steve be with you!
  • I haven’t been on AIM or what-have-you in a while, but I promise I’ll be more social-like once this novel is out the door and in the mail.  In the meantime, I still find time to do Twitter updates, so if you are interested in what I’ve had for breakfast, or what nonsense goes through my head in the course of the day, feel free to follow me on teh Twittertubes.

That’s it for this morning.  Now I have to go and get some work done, and make sure the kids don’t kill themselves or each other before naptime.  Steve be with you all!


21 thoughts on “thursday randomosity.

  1. Jay G. says:

    Marko, I’d be happy to take a look at the novel if you’d like another opinion.

    I’m a published author (scientific journals count, right?) and lifelong sci-fi geek if that makes a difference…

    I also happen to be between issues of Heinlein… 😉

    Just offerin’…

  2. farmist says:

    You WILL offer autographed first printing or galley proofs to your loyal readers, no?

  3. Marko says:

    When that happy day arrives, I’m pretty sure we’ll have contests and giveaways and party hats, yes.

  4. Ken says:

    Some of the marbled composition books are bleedy with a fountain pen. Can’t beat the price, though, and the good (non-bleedy) ones are good indeed.

  5. Marko says:

    I’ve found that it’s a matter of country of manufacture. The Made in Brazil ones are excellent with FPs…smooth and bright paper, better than the most expensive Moleskine. The ones that say Made in Vietnam or China are usually much inferior.

    I have a stash of Norcom comp books made in Brazil. Every time WalMart gets those in, I pick up a few.

  6. wolfwalker says:

    Clark and Gladys, our Avian-American tenants,


    Yes, there is a shopping mall in Concord. East of the city on Loudon Road. Called Steeplechase Mall, I think.

  7. Homer says:

    Shopping mall… mall. Hmmm. Could you describe “shopping mall”? Maybe I could recognize it from the description.

  8. Assrot says:

    I can’t wait to see your SciFi novel. I have been a voracious reader of all things SciFi for over 50 years. I average 2 to 3 books a month.

    I’d love to be one of your “trusted beta readers”. My word is my bond and I have never in my life broken my word. Any chance of becoming a beta reader?


  9. John Gall says:

    Congrats on completing your novel. I’ve noted over the years that a bunch of authors get “informed” beta readers to do first honors – and I’m curious why to use of “informed” first readers. It would seem to be somewhat limit your potential future audience, in that no one outside the SF area would/could enjoy your book. For example, when I book shop, be it library or book store, I know my choice of the moment is heavily influenced by cover art – if I don’t feel like SF, I won’t even examine books with garish covers.
    So it seems to me (WTF do I know) that the better choice of a “first” reader should be one with enthusiastic catholic tastes, rather than a specialist in a given field. Comments?

  10. random responses to randomosities…

    -bmsfo is not my genre of choice, but i offer my sincerest hopes of success as that would certainly lead to more of “that”…and more of “this”.

    -i’m trying to imagine that “announcer guy voice” with a distinct krautish twang…”in a vorld vhere thvart is a vondrous vord…”

    -thank you for confirming that you do not produce this content “au natural”…that’s a relief.

    -your ethics compatibility needs serious work.


  11. Marko says:


    I tend to lean towards writers or editors as beta readers because the critiques are more nuts-and-bolts than the ones you get from your average reader. They know how to look for the seams, so to speak. Most of the folks who have read this particular draft (or at least parts of it) are members of my VP alumni class (we critique each other’s stuff regularly), and VP instructors.

  12. OrangeNeckInNY says:

    What kind of birds are they?

  13. E says:

    comparison to an Honor book is indeed a compliment.
    I wish you luck w/ publication and look forward to seeing it on the shelf.
    Any maybe even buying it if the cover art is pulpy enough. 😉


  14. aczarnowski says:

    I’m surprised the hipsters aren’t converging on you with pitchforks and torches for those heretical Moleskine comments yet. Tubes must be full in some parts of the country.

    Glad to hear about the roof project starting and the book project hitting a milestone. As (the 80s) Hannibal said, I love it when a plan comes together.

  15. MarkHB says:

    Great news on the book, sir. Don’t forget to mention that you know a rilly, rilly talented artist for the cover 😉

  16. Marko says:


    I’m sure the original Hannibal said something similar in Carthaginian after stomping the holy hell out of the Roman legions at Cannae.

  17. LittleRed1 says:

    I confess a fondness for the Levenger (TM) brand writing pads, the ones with lines and a huge margin for additional notes, call numbers, copies of engineering diagrams et al. I do a lot of work in pencil as well as pen, and the Levenger paper doesn’t seem to smear pencil when its all in a Big Fat Binder of Doom.
    Ah yes, roofs that keep the water out are truly underrated aspects of civilization.

  18. Roberta X says:

    Speaking of writing — the folks over at Free State Wyoming Project are misattributing (Majorly) “Why The Gun IS Civilization.”>here.

  19. MarkHB says:

    Roberta, that seems to happen a lot. Hell, when I was staying over there, I called Marko “Major” a couple of times in sheer confusion.

  20. MarkHB says:

    Misattribution noted with appropriate bloglinked dropped. I know it’s not my job to do so, but I’ve seen how much time two kids, multiple daschies and An Actual Life eats up.

  21. Kristopher says:

    I’ve emailed Boston, and asked him to fix this … may take a while or might not happen, as the man is too paranoid to have an ISP that points at his residence.

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